4 lessons for Pakistani startups from India
Being a young startup, easyinsurance is always looking for guidance from experienced companies and entrepreneurs. We were lucky enough to get some video call time with none other than Yashish Dahiya, CEO and Founder of PolicyBazaar.com Group – an Indian consumer internet company as the founder of a similar startup in Pakistan I admire.
Policybazaar.com is India’s largest online financial services platform. The company started its journey in 2008 and has come a long way. It has nearly 100 million visitors coming onto its website annually and records sale of over 300,000 transactions a month.
We learned a lot from Yashish and I thought it might be helpful to share some of that here. Below is a roundup of our conversation.
1. Customers love the convenience but the price is the real deal
Most new startups believe in building the ultimate customer experience and bringing convenience through tech. But generally consumers, especially in this region, attach real value to low price points and financial benefit. Startups should focus on cost-effective processes that help bring the price of services and products down because customers attach real value to monetary savings.
Take away: Customers in our part of the world are attracted to anything that’s light on their pocket.
2. Marketing begins with understanding your consumer
Identify your customer’s concerns and pain points, and then formulate your marketing around the same. Startups will usually design marketing content based on what they feel will click with the audience. It’s important to understand what issues your consumers face and what benefits they seek, and then directly address them through your marketing efforts.
Yashish told us that in India, everyone said the same about insurance agents: “Insurance walay toe ullu banatay hain.”
That’s where PolicyBazaar.com’s initial tagline came from. Ullu na bano. Compare Karo.
Take away: Getting to know your customer is fundamental to your marketing strategy.
3. Work to generate direct traffic
Most websites will turn to Google Ads for a higher SEO ranking. While that is the obvious strategy, it’s important to gauge exactly how much you want to spend on generating website traffic and acquiring leads. Sometimes spending on Google Ads for a higher search ranking means that your lead is more expensive than your expected return.
Take away: Focus on good content and less costly SEO techniques. You don’t want to be giving all your money away to Google to make customers.
4. Partner only with the best
Yashish pointed out that getting the right companies on board is necessary for eCommerce platforms. For websites that are marketing another party’s products, backlash is inevitable if the product or service is not up to mark. This is particularly important in the insurance industry. Customers expect claims to be serviced on time and hope that the insurance company will follow through with the promises made at the time of insurance purchase. While you can’t control the entire value chain, try to partner with trusted parties that are known to work professionally.
Take away: Partner with people who will deliver good service and keep your customer happy!
Perhaps the most important lesson we learnt was it’s ok to ask for help. Yashish is the CEO of a billion-dollar company, and many will hesitate to reach out to him. And so did we. Yashish, on the other hand, responded almost instantly and we were humbled by his warm response. As startup founders, we have much to learn, and making the best out of the ecosystem will always depend on how much initiative you take in reaching out to relevant people.
Maliha Javed Khan is a Management Sciences graduate and an entrepreneur who loves writing and singing. She has five years of experience as an IB educationist and is currently Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder at easyinsurance Pakistan, which is the country’s first exclusive insurance comparison website